Editor’s Analysis

This scaled difficulty method will
surely affect the normal bell-curve
of the SOL tests, bringing low scores
up while bringing high scores down.
The question of unfairness almost
instantly comes to mind when one
considers this idea of adjusting difficulty
to ability. For instance, a student
familiar with the system may
answer his or her initial questions
poorly to ensure that the rest of the
test will be easier. On the other side
of that equation, a student who hits
a stroke of luck in the first portion
of the test may be overwhelmed by
later, more difficult questions. “That
would be unfair, with everybody
getting a different test,” freshman,
Sarah Henderson, said.
The more direct effects of the
new method of grading SOL essays
seem equally unfair. While the
necessity of an unbiased grading
system is practicaly unaninmously
accepted, the use of an “unbiased”
computer to grade an opnionated argument
seems a bit ludicrous. With
so many ‘Smart Technologies’ out
today, many people forget that a true
AI is yet to be developed. Therefore,
a computer can only assess any argument
based on scripted programs.
The use of keywords and sentence
structures, while easily found by a
computer, do not a convincing argument
make. If the purpose of an
essay is to prove a subjective point
(as all SOL prompts are), then they
should all be graded by a person or
persons capable of subjectivity.
Technology is an integral part of
modern American life. However,
computers are still not capable of
the thoughts and opinions of humans.
It is important for individuals
and governments to distinguish
the difference between rigid programming,
and flexible, evolving
thought.

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Author: The Hawk Eye

Hanover High School, Mechanicsville, Virginia The Hawk Eye Student Newspaper thehawkeye@hcps.us

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